ADA, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Lawyer General’s Business office has filed a reaction in an ongoing lawsuit to retain a convicted murderer guiding bars, even soon after a district judge vacated his lifetime sentence and referred to as for his speedy launch.
Tommy Ward has been in prison 35 many years for a murder he swears he did not commit.
Ward’s situation was the target of the Netflix documentary “The Harmless Man,” which was unveiled in 2018.
The circumstance was especially stunning simply because Ward and his alleged accomplice, Karl Fontenot, confessed to the 1984 murder of Denise Haraway in Ada.
However, some psychological industry experts now believe that the two suspects might have been coerced by detectives mainly because their confessions contained little to no accurate data about the crime.
The Ada Law enforcement Section has appear underneath fireplace in the latest years for suspicious investigation ways.
In truth, two other confessed murderers, who were being convicted about the exact time as Ward and Fontenot, have previously been exonerated by DNA evidence.
Their confessions ended up found to be coerced by overzealous investigators.
In December of 2020, District Decide Paula Inge vacated the conviction of Tommy Ward, ruling he did not acquire a reasonable demo because the state withheld proof in the situation and due to the fact a truthful trail would be impossible so a lot of years after the criminal offense.
“There was a witness we experienced no concept existed until finally 2019,” mentioned Ward’s legal professional, Greg Swygert. “That witness was at the ease retail outlet, gas station, within an hour of Ms. Haraway’s disappearance. That particular person we are not able to locate. We have no trail on that man or woman and that person was not recognised right up until 2019.”
Ward’s spouse and children believed he would be permit out of prison right after Decide Inge’s ruling.
However, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s business is appealing the final decision and sought a remain in the situation, which was upheld by the Oklahoma Court of Legal Appeals.
That remain requires Ward to continue being in jail whilst his enchantment in pending.
Ward’s accomplice, Karl Fontenot, has now been produced from prison, pursuing a ruling by a Federal Appeals Courtroom in Muskogee, Oklahoma overturning his existence sentence.
Fontenot’s attraction is also ongoing.
The Oklahoma Court docket of Prison Appeals will make a ultimate choice on whether or not Tommy Ward will be released from jail although preventing this charm.
On Friday, the attorney common submitted a temporary inquiring the Oklahoma Court of Legal Appeals to reverse the district court’s most current ruling to toss out Ward’s conviction, or make it possible for the point out to re-consider Tommy Ward.
“We’re delighted for a re-trial,” Swygert reported. “We just want a demo in which it’s truthful, honest for Tommy and Karl. It seems the Legal professional Basic must concur to that because they understand and they never deny that all of this proof was withheld.”
The legal professional common identified as Decide Inge’s conclusion to vacate the judgment and sentence, dismiss all costs and get in touch with for immediate discharge an “abuse of discretion with no foundation in Oklahoma article-conviction regulation.”
The AG also argued in the submitting too much time has elapsed for Ward to be granted this sort of publish-conviction reduction.
“It doesn’t appear honest when they say the trial was not truthful for the reason that they withheld proof, and then they say, ‘Well, you waited way too extended.’” Swygert reported. “Shouldn’t we have the demo to start out with exactly where it is fair? Let’s have that as a starting location.”
Ward’s protection staff will have an further 30 times to react to the most recent submitting.
At that place, the courtroom will either make a ruling on Ward’s incarceration or talk to for oral arguments.
The lawyer general’s workplace is not offering any extra responses on the case.
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